Thought provoking.
Actionable ideas.

Design Thinking: the best way to avoid expensive failure

What do New Coke and the disastrous Antarctic Snow Cruiser have in common? This presentation links cautionary tales with concrete steps that entrepreneurs and businesses can use to avoid costly failures.

New products and services are created with the goal of innovation and yet they often fail at great expense. Sometimes they fail because we can’t build them successfully, but more often, it is because we built the wrong products. This is an enormous waste of money, time and talent. It damages reputations and careers.

Design Thinking was conceived to prevent this waste by paying close attention to the needs of the user, not just at the beginning of the project, but at several intervals along the way to conclusion.

Who is this for?

If you are currently working within an organization, you will develop the skills to rescue projects before they fail and be recognized as a change agent. If you want to start your own innovative venture, Design Thinking will help you develop products and services faster and with less waste, delighting your customers.


30 min – 2 hr keynote

Catalyze your inventive thinking

A Russian patent clerk, an ad exec and Mark Twain inspire this examination of ideation – the art of coming up with ideas.

Brainstorming isn’t just saying “more ideas”. It’s creating a mental kaleidoscope – a way of directing your imagination, and that of your team, in multiple directions, so that you have an inexhaustible supply of ideas, any one of which could be the Eureka moment, or inspire one.

The smallest unit of innovation is the idea

Design Thinking. Lean Startup. Agile. Whatever approach to creating novel products and services you are using, every time you build and test, the feedback is going to demand new ideas. Get past the mental blocks and ideate on demand with proven ideation methods.

Who is this for?

If you feel like your team, your company or your career could use a creative shot in the arm, this energizing talk is for you.


1 hr to 2 hr keynote

Lessons from NASA

NASA’s moon program was a success while the Space Shuttle is widely viewed as a failure. Which was the moonshot?

Although the Space Shuttle did fly many missions from 1981 to 2011, NASA’s vision of cheap, reliable and routine access to space was never realized. In fact, the Space Shuttle was the most deadly launch system every devised and cost more for each launch than the disposable rockets it was built to replace.

What lessons can we learn from NASA’s moon mission, the galvanizing effect of a clear mandate, and the cost of taking a big swing on unproven technologies?

Who is this for?

So many projects fail because of the pressures to accomplish greatness in one step. This keynote explores how individuals and institutions can anticipate and avoid the conditions that lead to costly failures.


1 hr to 2 hr keynote

Experiments vs certainty

At its core, Design Thinking is a simple concept – involve your user and test your assumptions. So why is it so hard?

Design Thinking is a reminder to involve the user early and often in the development of a new product or service. Sounds simple enough, but how often do we embark on a project with that common sense in our hearts only to find that the organization demands certainty up front?

This talk examines the motivations and fears that exist in organizations and practical responses that can unleash innovation in even the most cautious bureaucracy.

Who is this for?

If your organization is stuck even after embracing Design Thinking, this talk can help you push past the barriers.


1 hr keynote